Preserving Information: It’s Not Magic, It’s People (And it takes a lot of work!)

What does it mean to be a paper-pusher in the digital age? For librarians, archivists, and others who help preserve our many, many, many paper trails, it means having to toe the line between the needs of the records and the needs of those who want to use the records. It was with this notion in mind that I wrote the following post for Geek Force Network. Information is a valuable thing; preserving it for the future is, perhaps, more so.

Geek Force Network

A view of the archives of Alpine County, CA.A view of the archives of Alpine County, CA.

Do you remember what it was like doing research and writing papers in the Stone Age? When the most accessible fonts of knowledge we had occurred the forms of gigantic sets of encyclopedias, miles worth of microfilm, and card catalogs so large that they could easily fill up one of today’s server farms? If you don’t, then we might not be able to be friends.

Okay, I’m just joking there.  (Or, am I?) But there is a strange yet noticeable divide growing between the traditional and the digital when it comes to accessing information. I see it all the time in my work. When people ask if we have a certain bit of historical data in our archives/library, the first question is not longer “is it available?” but “is it digitized?” (Or, likewise, “can I view it online?”) This…

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